Chester barman John Gartand is on a 740-mile fundraising run around the UK's Premier League clubs. He is hoping to raise £50,000 for Alder Hey Imagine Appeal and The Daisy Garland the two charities that have helped his nephew William Reid. Read more here . Follow his progress in his blog below...
Started off great with Newcastle and sunderland both making me feel welcome and allowing me pitchside with Newcastle even donating a shirt for me to raffle off! Highest bid at £200 already! From Sunderland it was okay until 25 miles when the sat-nav on my phone lost signal and I was stood like Joey from friends with my map working out which direction to go. Fortunately for me a guy (aka village idiot) assured me what way to go and putting my faith in him headed off seven miles out my route making the days total 47miles! A bit of a mind killer but hopefully I'll bump into that man on another day so I can thank him in my own special way!
This was a day I wasn't really looking forward to - 43 miles heading into the Yorkshire dales and all it's hills! It proved to be alot harder than I anticipated but mile by mile I put one foot in front of the other and got through it! My brother texted me that morning and said it's better to die on your feet than live on your knees! That got me through the hard bits along with thoughts of all the doubters! The last 10 miles through hills and fog were the hardest ten miles iv ever done! But I did them! Please make all the miles worth it and donate here .
I hate the Yorkshire dales-that is all! It was a very tough day yesterday, 20miles from the start to get out of the dales - I dislike the dales and it's hills but at the same time was a beautiful part of the country - I must go back in a car one day! I'm really struggling with what foods to eat at the moment, nothing quite sits right on my stomach and yesterday I was sick at the side of the road a few times, not very good! Once on the A59, I picked up the pace but there was no running path So I had to run on the road and jump on the grass verge when a car came which slowed me down and resulted in me jumping in a boggy bit of mud and falling over banging my knee. Was the lowest point if the day. It was dark, cold and raining and I had to get up and run another 14miles, I'm not afraid to admit I had a little blubber but got up and ended up at Ewood Park. A great feeling to know the the dales are behind me!
After finishing Thursday at Manchester United I have honestly never felt as low in my life! Trying to get my diet in order has been the hardest part of my challenge so far, being ill and unable to keep my food down has sapped my energy big time! On Thursday morning as I was setting off from Ewood Park in Blackburn, my spirits where actually quite high, The Yorkshire Dales were finally out of the way and I had my friend Paul McMullin for company on his bike. Then it was just more hills, all the way out of Blackburn for miles. It took me 3 hours 10mins to get to Bolton - very slow and left me exhusted, demorilised and grey in the face due to lack of food. A two hour break was need to rest and load up on food, a visit to McDonalds from my mum helped bring the colour back into me, and a bowl of pasta and some fruit gave me a lift by the time I set off. Bolton to Manchester City, 17 miles in total. It took me just under 3 hours, then 4 miles through town to United was knocked off quickly. A very long day and left me totally drained and exhausted!! But I did it!
Friday was a race against the clock. United to Alder Hey hospital via Wigan FC by half four. 34 miles in total. We set off from United just before 10am so there was no time for breaks just straight running. The lady at Wigan was very helpful and let us go pitchside as did united also. Joining me today was my best friend James Riding, cycling along next to me. He was such a help, I don't think I would of made it on time without him. The sun was out, and my knee was bothering me with every step. If I stoped for a breather he rang his bell till I started again, I did so just because the sound of the bell annoyed me so much ha! And he knew it!!
It was 16 miles from Wigan to Liverpool children's Alder Hey Hospital, and had to be covered in two hours 30 mins which I did with a minute to spare. The staff at the Alder Hey Imagine Appeal had a lovely welcome for me with balloons, banner and drinks with mars bars which went down a treat!
I had two friends meeting me there, Jim Davis and Carl Gardener, so along with my mate jay we left the alder hey and set off on the 4 mile run to Goodison. It was a very long run to me, 34 miles already covered and I was struggling! I was glad I had 3 friends with me to keep me going. I've realised I'm not going to be able to do this alone all the time so was happy to have the support and got to my favourite club Everton FC. They let me go pitchside which was nice but strange being in an empty stadium! I've been there so many times full! Well sometimes full haha!
End of day five and feeling good, was very tough but a great feeling to finish another day.
Monday was the start of all my problems! 22 miles into the day and James and myself had got to Nantwich from Chester FC and I laid down and waited for him to repair a puncture on his puncture proof tyres which I found very amusing!
From there though, my left quad started to tighten up and was causing me a lot of pain. From Nantwich to Stoke City FC was only 18 miles but it turned out to be the longest and most painful miles I have ever had to endure. I've never cried in front of my best friend James but I was sobbing like a girl running up a steep hill in agony. He was brilliant though, a true friend and he helped through it! If you look at the Britannia Stadium photos, me and James are hugging each other due to the cold and amazement that we actually got there!
Tuesday was a hard long day! From the first step I could feel a sharp stabbing pain in my quad. The more miles I ran the worse it got. After 4 miles I stopped at a shop and made a great purchase! Extra strong nurofen! After I popped 4 of them bad boys, I had a one hour window of no pain! I really went for it and picked up the pace! Running down hill singing queen, lady gaga and rocky songs with James! At 24 miles James got picked up by our friend and I was not happy at all at him leaving. I now had two aching quads and a shooting pain down my shin. 5:30pm, going dark, in pain and now I was waving goodbye to my friend and setting off alone.
Twelve long miles to Wolverhampton Football Club! It was a very long run, I had to stop every mile to stretch, and the pace was slowing down. I felt absolutely miserable but kept my nephew William in mind, and thought about completing the run and raising funds to help Eilliam and other children in his situation. I felt sore, cold but incredibly proud when I reached Wolverhampton FC! Another day crossed off and straight Into a nasty ice bath and then to bed! Very glad to be tucked up in bed!
Day Eight Wednesday. This day was definately the most pain I have ever been in! To take the pain off my quads I had a very funny running style, abit like I'd been horse riding for a week! However I was still running! I got through 16 miles and had visited West Brom and Aston Villa when I decided enough was enough for today. If was to continue I would of injured other parts of my body. My left shin was killing me already, and my calfs were starting to really tighten up. I googled a local hotel called Fair Lawns which had a spa and I also booked a sports massage. That was a horrible half an hour of my life! I knew it was going to help but at that time the agony I was feeling didn't make it worth it at the time! Once at the hotel I went straight to the spa and sat in the sauna for as long as I could till I felt dizzy! All the time stretching and rubbing down my legs. I got a few odd looks walking up the stairs! But once in bed I collapsed, now a bit behind but feeling alot better! Day Nine
Thursday. I set off really early at 6:50am to give me time to stop for stretching. It was 19 miles up to Kiddeminster and I ran at 5 miles an hour pave to ease my way into it. I decided to stop off at Kiddeminster Harriers FC while I was there, it was only 1 mile out my way so I thought why not! By the time I was approaching Tenbury Wells that extra mile seemed like a marathon! The pain in both my quads, shin, calfs and left ankle were more than a match for my nurofen which didn't help a bit! It was another day and another 36 miles crossed off! A had to endure a lot of hills on the last 13 miles which got me thinking about the beacons on sat!! Not a good thought in my condition!